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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 18, 2013 12:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

Sittingy in the Auditorium for 6/26/76, i kept trying to deduce, why the lethargy (esp. Tennessee Jed) throughout the first set? During the break, several of us kept asking, what the fuck!, what did we just experience? what has happened to 'our' band? Some of us approached the second set with serious trepidation - quite different than our usual unabated enthusiasm . . . when St. Stephen started up, I was mystified - like yourself WT, I also had no clue as to where they were going with this . . . I kept asking myself, who just screwed up? did someone miss their cue? What kind of drugs were THEY on?? Did our usual weed alter our perceptions of their pace THAT much!!?? . . . By the fourth show of that stand, I was less shocked, but still bewildered by their new arrangement of our old friend, St. Stephen . . . It may have been the listening of the tapes from 'XRT countless times, that i slowly came to accept - and sometimes, appreciate - the transformation of our our old pal. But still, sometimes I still ask, "but, why????".

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Jul 18, 2013 1:50pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

I don't know,
Must have been the quaaludes ...

I really like '76, thanks to being exposed to such great stuff through this place, but it had to have been a shock. I gather is that the consensus is that it was slower because of reintegrating Mickey, at least in part?

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 18, 2013 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

The weather in Chicago that week was very much like the weather about half of the country is going through this week - hot, humid, and seriously tropical for the Upper Midwest, Northeast, and Great Lakes Region. We were starting to think, maybe the band all had heatstroke, or just couldn't handle that oppressive, major urban heat sync, Chicago, with it's gentle tropical breezes coming in from the lake - adding to the thick humidity. I still think at times when the dew point is in the 70s, that we are experiencing what Phil used to refer to as "thick air".

. . . and, yes, actually there was much groaning at the time, about how Mickey was slowing everything down to "a bore". There had to be a scapegoat. The band was changing, we were changing . . . and I can now appreciate '76 - '78 with a different perspective. . . . I don't think I'm wired to appreciate the band - with the same love and devotion - from '80 on. Driving home from Alpine Valley or Deer Creek, I would often think of Gilbert and Sullivan's, "love, unrequited love, robs me of my rest".

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Poster: grendelschoice Date: Jul 19, 2013 5:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

There's always a trade-off it seems in getting to a "perfect" year of Dead. Meaning there's no such animal, just as the Dead themselves never could be a "perfect" band, and that suits us fine, for the highs almost always outweighed the lows.

In a "perfect" world we would have had 1977's style of precision and power playing to go along with 1976's varied and more exciting set lists. I've grown to like a lot of 1976 shows, especially towards the end of the year when you could see the confidence they would display in 1977 emerging (which is also why I think 12/31 may be the best of all the 1976 shows).

By 1978 I think they were grasping for ways to get beyond the smoothness and "professionalism" of 1977 and sometimes it worked (see April of 1978, especially in the Scarlet>Fire combos, which contain some "best ever" candidates), and maybe the fruition of that effort was Red Rocks 7/8/78--a power and precision show featuring some "WOW! WTF" moments in the set list as well.

Still, if I'm forced a "desert Island" choice of Dead I'm taking 1977 with me, and if I had to narrow it down even further it's Fall of 1977, when the precision remains but the rock and roll throttle also gets opened up more. There's also a little show they played in DeKalb, Ill. on 10/29/77 that always catches my attention.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 18, 2013 2:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

I think that's a myth about Mickey. Having two drummers doesn't mean they have to drum real slow. I think that just made it harder to make instant shifts in the jams like they could do with Bill solo.
(Over time, it also affected their delicacy - in '76 they were still playing real sweet, spacy, gentle jams, but over the next two years their style gets more rocked-up and the quieter moments vanish. Mickey's just a part of this shift, though.)

As far as the lethargic tempos in '76, I'd place the blame on Jerry. The songs that got slowed down were mainly HIS songs - Stephen, Cosmic Charlie, Friend of the Devil, They Love Each Other, TN Jed, plus the already-slow ballads like Roses, Row Jimmy, High Time, Ship of Fools, Candyman, plus the new Mission in the Rain & Crazy Fingers....not many Garcia toe-tappers from '76!
And the JGB shows that year were also often taken at a snail's pace. Seems to be a phase he was in.

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2013-07-18 21:54:34

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Poster: duckpond74 Date: Jul 18, 2013 4:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

LIA, I completely agree with your thoughts about Jerry, and his tunes being responsible for the ultra-chilled, downtempo sets at that time. I still have strong memories of watching him that first night in Chicago, seeming happy, but distant. Like he was in his own world, unaffected by what the band was playing, yet still in control. I don't know how else to describe it . . . perhaps, it was the Prankster in him at work. And, yes, poor Mickey, undeservedly, did get much of the blame for those neogeriatric grooves.

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Poster: Reade Date: Jul 18, 2013 3:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH '76 Orpheum- best show of the year candidate

For my money the 8-4-76 performance is a stellar example of what you're describing. Excruciatingly slow. I cringe just thinking about 8-4-76. (And I'm a '76 guy- just absolutely love June '76 Dead).

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